Last Time On The 100
Jessica: We pressed pause on our recaps of The 100 last week because we wanted to dedicate our SYFY FANGRRLS space to an important, timely cause. As much as we love writing about this wild sci-fi rollercoaster of a show, we also love standing in solidarity with social justice movements that feel long overdue. We're still doing the work, individually and as a community to make sure we're an inclusive space full of diverse writers geeking out over their favorite stuff, but we're resuming our regularly-scheduled programming for fans, like us, looking for a bit of joy and rest in their favorite TV shows.
Which brings us back to The 100. Instead of giving a full recap of last week's "False Gods," we're going to give you the Cliff's Notes version of all the Sanctum shenanigans and time-traveling chaos before jumping into this week's brand-new episode.
Alyssa: "False Gods" saw us back in Sanctum and dealing with the fallout of Clarke having her dracarys moment, and she and Gaia bond as Madi's Two Moms. Russell is awaiting death, but Sheidheda lurks within, so while he may outwardly claim to want to die by fire, that's not exactly what happens. Instead, he manipulates Jordan and ends up almost being fake martyred by his followers, which means that Clarke and Indra can't actually kill him or he would become a real martyr. Bummer. WonKru finds out that Madi is no longer Heda because Gaia told them, leaving Clarke without an army at her back. Raven has to deal with another nuclear meltdown and enlists Murphy, Emori, and some of the Eligius prisoners to help her fix it. It does not go well for the prisoners, who die from radiation poisoning while fixing the leak, leaving Raven racked with guilt. It's a lot to take in, and yet again, not a single Blake to be seen. Aaaaaaaaand that's what you missed on Glee.
Jessica: Cue the creepy choral singers.
Warning: This discussion contains spoilers for Season 7, Episode 4 of The 100.
Alyssa: This episode begins with the backstory crutch as old as time: the tragic montage. As Hope deals with the loss of her mother and Auntie O, a new prisoner from Bardo arrives. A man named Dev is left to serve a sentence of ten years, and luckily for Hope, he means her no harm. After he eats some bad berries and she nurses him back to health, they form a new family unit. She teaches him to garden, he teaches her to fight and how she'll get into Bardo to save Octavia and Diyoza. It's all very sweet, but at the same time, I can't help but wonder why we are spending so much time with Hope. This is the last season. I don't care about new characters. I want to see the faves that we have been with get the story endings they deserve. It's not that I didn't enjoy this episode, but I was a bit frustrated.
Jessica: Hard agree. Was I moved by that flashback set to some hipster Sarah McLachlan ballad? Sure. Would I be so down for exploring Hope's backstory in full if we were in, say, the show's fifth or sixth season? Also yes. But this is the final countdown and we're four episodes in and I haven't gotten even a whiff of Bellamy Blake since the premiere. I'm NOT here for it, fam. That being said, I do love what Shelby Flannery is doing with the character and I enjoyed seeing the dynamics of a trio I never knew I could root for. Gabriel, Echo, and Hope are such an interesting pairing. I didn't expect it, but I'm not mad at it. Still, so much time is devoted to exploring Hope's past this episode and I feel like some of that could've been condensed into episode two. Instead, we're left to see-saw between the past, the present in Sanctum, and Sky Ring, which exists in some weird in-between as far as time goes. My head hurts from it all.
Alyssa: I did enjoy this unlikely trio coming together to survive for five years together while they wait for their moment. As someone who has been gardening in quarantine, I was very pleased by their little setup. However, even if they're developing their green thumbs, at their cores, Gabriel, Echo, and Hope are all pragmatic. They work to lure in Orlando, the latest prisoner from the woods to get him on their side so they can use his Absolution Day to make the jump to Bardo to save Bellamy (wherefore art thou, freckles?), Octavia, and Diyoza. Sure, they make nice with the crazy guy, but it is all in service of their greater goal.
Jessica: For some reason, Orlando almost worships Hope so the group decides to use her as bait to bring him to their side. It takes a while, and Echo gets a nice ass-kicking from it, but eventually, the fake olive branch is accepted. Orlando promises to help train them to fight against his own people, not because he doesn't believe in his Shepherd any more but because he wants Hope to reunite with her mother, so the deal is the group can infiltrate Bardo on a rescue mission, but there will be absolutely no killing. Orlando does not know our faves, you guys.
Alyssa: Killing is always on the table with The 100, especially with Echo. To be fair, I would be willing to shed some blood to get back to Bellamy Blake too (even if Gabriel was rocking the tanks all episode). When Absolution Day finally comes, the disciples come to collect Orlando, who has been tied to a pole of his own volition due to a promise of no killing. However, Echo immediately turns to killing. Instead of taking the suits and leaving Orlando's people behind, she kills them all, to Orlando's anguish. It's a lot. Hope and Gabriel aren't immediately on board, but the damage is done. They leave Orlando alone with a knife and move on to Bardo to save their friends. We find out later that Orlando killed himself with said knife, so this is a particularly rough twist.
Every Second Counts
Jessica: Yeesh, talk about a one-sided friendship. While the group on Sky Ring trains, back at Sanctum, everyone's just now realizing that, "Wait a minute. We haven't seen Bellamy Blake in a while." Honestly, all I can do is shake my head at this point because how out of character is it for Clarke and Raven and Jackson — hell, even Murphy — to not wonder where their mustachioed leader has been for the past week? Still, I guess we're on a better track because the discovery of a dead Robocop means Sanctum is finally realizing there are bigger threats than Russell's groupies and some pissed-off ex-convicts. Poor Clarke just can't seem to catch a damn break, can she?
Alyssa: I get it, Clarke has a lot on her mind and is concerned about Madi (also conspicuously absent lately, damn those TV budgets), but come on. The Blakes are missing. This is not normal. Because she is and will always be WanHeda, Clarke is asked for by name by one of the Disciples who stops in Sanctum, claiming that she is The Key. LORD. OF COURSE, CLARKE IS THE KEY. YET AGAIN. (Sorry for the outburst, this is just a lot to take.) While Clarke once again deals with being the chosen one, Raven — still dealing with the guilt of sending men to die last week and the bruise from getting the shit rightfully kicked out of her — and Jordan work together to crack the suits. Jordan, bless him, is no help except to accidentally prompt Raven to figure out that the helmets are run by mind control. Sure. That makes sense at this point.
Jessica: It really does feel like the writer's room just tossed a bunch of ideas in a hat and randomly picked them out when planning each episode, doesn't it? Jordan getting more screentime than Maddie, Murphy, and Emori just doesn't sit well with me. It feels like the show is trying to force these relationships on us and Raven's interaction with him is the perfect example of that. Also, as hard as I rolled my eyes over Raven's guilty conscience — it's the exact same thing she's railed at Clarke over for years — I don't like how we're just brushing over her trauma when there's an opportunity for these two women to bond over this tragedy staring us right in the face. Maybe that's a bigger problem the show's facing — how to keep the momentum going until the end with these sci-fi action-heavy storylines vs. how to wrap up each character's arc in a way that feels realistically satisfying. Lots of shows struggle with it, but I had hoped The 100 wouldn't be one of them.
Alyssa: I think the show has always struggled when it comes to Raven and Clarke's relationship. I know there are plenty of Princess Mechanic shippers out there, but I think pitting these two against each other when they feel like they would be more natural allies is a crutch that the show keeps falling on. Like, all the way back to Finn. Remember him? What a simpler time. At least Raven gets a win with figuring out the suits, getting a better idea of the planetary system that they're dealing with. She also realizes a thing that the show treats as a surprise but should be pretty obvious to anyone familiar with science fiction: the Anomaly is a wormhole.
Through the Wormhole
Jessica: Look, I've seen Interstellar. I just did a full Marvel Universe re-watch. I know a wormhole when I see one and I figured that's what the Anomaly was when we saw Diyoza and Octavia get sucked through it last season. But I'll give Raven the benefit of the doubt. She probably never saw Avengers: Endgame. How could she know? Raven also discovers that the whole "Clarke Griffin is the key" nonsense is just some bullshit these Robocops are telling them to get her to space jump back to their home planet. Apparently, their leader has big, nefarious plans for our Commander of Death. Too bad all the background they have on her didn't teach them that our Princess is not to be f*cked with.
Alyssa: She is not. Once again, when given the option for killing, our crew chooses killing. Clarke, Niyah, Miller, and Gaia show up to discuss seeing the Blakes and Echo with Robocop, and he tells her about Orlando's suicide and what went down there. It's messy. However, when things get tense, Jordan and Raven turn up and kill all of the disciples. Yikes. Again. As they approach the Anomaly, Raven uses her helmet to guess which planet is Penance, where their friends are allegedly imprisoned. Gaia decides to stay behind to protect Madi, but the rest of the group goes through... without suits. I get that Clarke's latest coat is absolutely bitchin' — get that leather bustle, girl — but haven't they been driving home the importance of the suits for traveling through the Anomaly? Am I going insane?
Jessica: Right? Like, without a suit, how does one survive that journey? I thought they needed those or a tether or they'd just float into the abyss? Also, why are we so gung-ho to go through that swirly green blob of death? Shouldn't we take a beat to familiarize ourselves with the planets, maybe learn the symbols, utilize Raven's remote-controlled headset? Couldn't those willing to venture through the wormhole have strapped on a suit real quick? Why did no one stay behind with Gaia in case one of those Robocops woke up/wasn't actually dead? These are season one mistakes that our crew just would not make.
Alyssa: This whole decision-making process felt so slapdash, and it left them all stranded on an ice planet with no "Anomaly Stone." Again, was this something we knew they needed? Why would Raven have let them leave without one if she knew it would be a problem? You know I love The 100, but this final season feels sloppy and determined to deny fans what they want. Obviously I am not coming out in favor of fan service, because that never brings about anything good, but providing satisfaction in the ending feels like part of the deal for signing up for seven seasons of a show. We'll see what Jason Rothenberg and co. pulls off, but these first four episodes have me worried.
Jessica: The absolute erasure of Bellamy Blake should've been a dead giveaway but honestly, the show has even bigger problems of continuity and consistent tone that I'm not even sure his freckles — as glorious as they may be — can solve. Still, I'm a ride or die and I refuse to give up on this lovable band of misfits. I just hope they'll all be reunited soon.